Fallen Angels

Book review by
Monica Wyatt, Common Sense Media
Fallen Angels Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
A violent but unvarnished portrayal of the war in Vietnam.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 23 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This  books will illuminate the Vietnam war for young people. It can help spark teens to learn more about the war. Our "Families Can Talk About" section can point parents and teens to some other interesting discussion topics.

Positive Messages

This a realistic depiction of the Vietnam War without the glamour Hollywood often provides. Readers will have to think about the cost of war. Is it worth what it does to people fighting on either side?

Positive Role Models & Representations

Richie puts a human face on war. Through him -- and his often dispassionate telling of the horrors he has seen -- readers will get a true sense of the effects of war on a young person.


Extreme, graphic war violence to both soldiers and civilians. Depicts shootings and explosions, including a woman who booby-traps a small child to explode in an American soldier's arms.


References to some sexual fantasies of the soldiers.


Constant and extreme -- a realistic depiction of soldier talk. Asian people referred to as "gooks," as was common among American soldiers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Soldiers drink, smoke marijuana.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book realistically describes what it was like for American soldiers fighting in Vietnam in 1967-68. Expect profanity, poor grammar, and graphic violence; there are depictions of shootings and explosions, including a woman who booby-traps a small child to explode in an American soldier's arms. The story builds until the soldiers and readers are caught in a vortex of war. Richie asks some big questions -- about the reasons for the war, about the treatment of African-Americans, and more. The realism, humor, and intensity attract even reluctant readers and keep them reading -- and thinking about the cost of war.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCopperman34956 February 3, 2016


If you would actually take the time to read this book!
So much profanity!
Many nasty remarks on women.
Use of alcohol and drugs.
Please check what it is t... Continue reading
Adult Written byBreannBeatty March 1, 2013

Did like it a first!! But know its good

when I read this book it was good. IT not for kids because it has bad words and a lot of blowing up. how ever for 17 and up it is a ver good book. At first i di... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byArieD03 October 12, 2020

Real War

This book is really well written on the part of Walter Dean Myers. It shows how real war is, and how war doesn't just make men into soldiers, it takes boys... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJonathan Lopez August 19, 2012

Fallen Angels review by Jonathan Lopez

After finishing the book "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers as my eighth grade reading project I found myself relieved to say that i finished the bo... Continue reading

What's the story?

Richie, an 18-year-old African-American kid from Harlem, joins the army and is sent to Vietnam in 1967. There, he bonds with the other soldiers in his small squad and watches as some of them die. Richie wonders if he'll live through the year as he participates in the growing violence of the war.

Is it any good?

Reading FALLEN ANGELS can be an intense experience, one that even reluctant readers may appreciate. This highly realistic depiction of young soldiers fighting the ground war in Vietnam was one of the first books to illuminate that war for young people. Today's adolescents, who were born after the Vietnam War, may not know much about it -- but that's OK because this book focuses on the experiences of the soldiers, not on the history of the war. Myers has the ability to make readers care about his characters and see them as real human beings. Ultimately, this is a vivid and unvarnished portrayal of the war in Vietnam.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Vietnam War. Did you know anything about the Vietnam War before you read this book? Why is it important to read about events that happened before you were even born?

  • Richie sees that African-American soldiers are often put in the most dangerous situations. Do you think that is still true today? Why are so many of our soldiers fighting in today's wars from minority backgrounds? Is that fair?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

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